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New funding supports search for solutions to white-nose syndrome
Date:8/6/2014

arch Station. Sybill Amelon, a research wildlife biologist in Columbia, Mo., seeks to improve survival of bats infected with WNS by using native soil bacteria to produce natural volatiles that inhibit growth of the fungus that causes the disease. The soil bacteria being investigated were discovered by researchers at the Applied and Environmental Microbiology Department at Georgia State University (GSU). Along with her collaborators from GSU, Amelon is testing the effectiveness of this naturally produced treatment to prevent the fungus from invading bat tissue and as a treatment for bats already affected by WNS. Bat Conservation International provided critical funding and support for the early stages of the development of this treatment tool.

Dan Lindner, a research plant pathologist in Madison, Wis., will test the use of "gene silencing," a newly emerging technology that is showing promise as a disease-fighting tool. The insights gained could offer a way to render the fungus harmless. This work is being done in collaboration with Nancy Keller of the University of Wisconsin Madison and Stephen Rehner of the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Systematic Mycology and Microbiology Laboratory in Beltsville, Md.

The bat treatment studies are scheduled for the 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 hibernation seasons.

A marked decline in bat populations in the eastern United States was documented in a study published last month by Amelon and co-authors Thomas Ingersoll of the University of Tennessee, and Brent Sewall of Temple University. The study found cumulative declines from peak levels were 71 percent for little brown bats, 34 percent for tricolored bat, 30 percent in the federally-listed endangered Indiana bat, and 31 percent for northern long-eared bats.


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Contact: Jane Hodgins
jmhodgins@fs.fed.us
651-649-5281
USDA Forest Service - Northern Research Station
Source:Eurekalert

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